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Wisdom and grace

I want to add my two cents on the departure of Kathryn Eastburn from the position of editor of the Independent. She has been a constant star of reason, temperance when under attack, wisdom in the midst of confusion and grace despite misunderstanding from the less "evolved" among us.

She is an authentic pioneer of courage as co-founder of our most enlightened local publication, and she is amazingly creative and committed as a writer, choosing topics like mothers in prison and the quality of our educational system, in the desire to make a real and positive difference. She has delighted all of us with Domestic Bliss, a paean to the glorious gift of every day.

Thank you, Kathryn, for your generous gifts made with much toil and little thanks. Your legacy is secure and your future a beacon.

-- Rebekah Shardy
Colorado Springs

Editor's Note: The author is a contributing writer to the Independent. Her thoughts are shared by all of us.


Legitimate criminal threats

To the Editor:

It was gratifying to read Cara DeGette's story on what really happened at the mosque ["Muslims Get Threats, Support," Sept. 20], since the Gazette ignored the real story of how various religious and political groups stood together for religious freedom. I was there, and it was wonderful to do the right thing in standing up for the First Amendment.

It is sad, though, and a little enraging that the Colorado Springs Police Department refused to help, then sent one single rookie officer after the mayor and Council decided to show up in an obvious political maneuver. I cannot help but wonder, having been one of the security attendees, if the true purpose of the CSPD is nothing more than being a guard force for city officials, while the citizens are left to fend for themselves. Where was the police investigating the arson threats? They can't spare any men to investigate the crime, they tell us, but since the mayor is coming over we'll send over an officer for her protection. They should have investigated the threats, but they would not.

This is yet another reason to vote "no" on the tax increases: Why have more police if they won't respond to legitimate criminal threats anyway? Is their concern really public safety? It should be, since that is their first duty.

-- Michael W. Seebeck
Pueblo


Kill them with kindness

To the Editor:

Regarding the reader Kira Stanley's remarks about declaring war on nations that support terrorism (Letters, Oct. 4), she apparently feels that war is the way to spread Democratic ideals. I would merely suggest that wars with foreign nations are not what have made them democratic, but rather helping these countries rebuild, establish and maintain their own freedoms. When she points out that blood is the price of freedom, she errs in the application of this clich. Countries have spilled blood in pursuit of their own freedom, but knocking other countries over the head with our ideology is not likely to succeed. I agree with the many more enlightened readers who suggest that helping these countries is a more effective means than fighting them.

-- Tom Simms
Pueblo


The Pentagon and the Peace Corps

To the Editor:

As we bomb the Afghans, take a moment to review the U.S. budget. This year, the United States is spending:

$311 billion on the Pentagon
$30 billion on all intelligence-gathering activities
$23 billion on diplomacy
Less than half a billion dollars on the Peace Corps
$6 billion on Star Wars
$1 billion on refugee programs
$42 billion on education
$7 billion on the Environmental Protection Agency
$6 billion on Head Start

(Sources: Budget of the United States, FY 2002; Central Intelligence Agency, March, 1998, latest available data; Budget of the United States, FY 2002.)

We can prevent terrorism and war by changing U.S. spending priorities.

-- Jason Salzman
Denver


Dangerous times

To the Editor:

Several others have already adequately answered Cara DeGette's misrepresentations about America's role in the world in her column about the terrorist attacks (Public Eye, Sept. 13).

What I want to address is those who say we need to better "understand" the hijackers, that we need to negotiate with them or, better yet, do nothing except engage in self-flagellation. To call such views nave is to state the obvious.

But they're worse than nave; they're dangerous. In the same issue of the Indy, Michael Lerner wrote, "I categorically reject any notion that violence is ever justified." Such statements sound good on their surface, but look at their deeper implications. Does Lerner mean to say that if he somehow got wind of the hijackers' plan and could foil them all by shooting one of the terrorists, he wouldn't do it? Does he believe the violence the Allies visited on Nazi Germany wasn't justified? If the Allies hadn't acted, millions more would have died at Hitler's hand, but Lerner and his ilk, in their smug self-righteousness, don't think about that.

They remind me of a protester who said, "Nothing's worth dying for." What he's really saying is that there's no person and no cause he wouldn't betray to save his own skin.

Anyone who believes that all people are inherently good and that we just need to "understand" them needs to go back and reread 4,000 years of recorded history. What these people need to "understand" is that some people are evil -- period. They can't be appeased or reasoned with. They hate us with a white-hot hatred, and it's not our fault that they hate us. All we can do -- all we must do -- is fight back.

-- Tom Neven
Colorado Springs


Motivating terrorism

To the Editor:

In contrast to the rest of the nation, I'm not feeling very patriotic these days. The displays of flags and sentiment seem so out of place, like a big pep rally to root for "our team" to win. It's not that easy, because "winning" means having America take a hard look at itself and what its policies actually stand for.

As harsh as it may seem, I believe that our government reaps what it sows.

The Gulf War, the Iraqi sanctions and repeated bombings, propping up corrupt and unpopular leaders in Third World countries like Saudi Arabia, supporting Israeli terrorism and continued oppression of the Palestinian people, pulling out of International treaties -- this is the stuff that motivates terrorism like the "Attack on America."

Tactics like these cannot be fought militarily, nor can we win a guerrilla war against Third World/Muslim nations (remember Vietnam?). Invading Afghanistan risks making a bad situation worse and starting World War III.

I pray not only for those who have lost their loved ones, but also that the American people may find the courage to confront themselves. Our leaders have had their fingers on the trigger since Day 1 of the disaster, but the best way to "win" is through world peace and freedom from oppression for all people.

As the parent of two teenagers, I'm proud to tell George W. Bush that no, I don't have the stomach for it.

-- Cyndy Kulp
Colorado Springs


Small-minded ignorance

To the Editor:

Today was a rude re-awakening for me. Yesterday, I felt a sense of protection and pride as I saw our American flags blowing in each doorway of each house on each street, flags waving at me proudly.

Today I was reminded yet again of the underlying prejudice and self-righteousness that stands behind some of those front doors. I am beyond expression of what this does to me and how it makes me feel.

Some of our citizens cannot feel safe in our "little village"; many more cannot feel protected in our free world. Why do some Americans feel they are above certain rules of common decency and courtesy? In one breath they mourn, attend services and pray for forgiveness and peace. In the other, they judge, damn and condemn people for their physical and philosophical differences.

This is not American, and I am ashamed for these people. I do not and will not understand this kind of smug cruelty. But what I do understand is the definition of self-involved, small-minded ignorance.

-- Elizabeth E. Osborne
Colorado Springs


U.S. gifts to the Taliban

To the Editor:

What do the United States government and the Taliban have in common? Unbridled fanaticism.

When the U.S. government gave $43 million dollars to the Taliban, in exchange for the Taliban declaring opium poppy farms to be "against the will of God," the United States sought to fuel its own fanatical obsession, the war on drugs.

Despite U.S. knowledge that the Taliban was an oppressive "rogue regime" of religious fundamentalists with documented abuses of human rights, the U.S. government ignored the Taliban's systematized cruelties in order to push its own domestic and dogmatic anti-drug agenda.

In the wake of the 9.11 calamities, it is grotesquely ironic that "we" gave millions in anti-drug aid to Afghanistan's Taliban, the regime that, in addition to committing countless crimes against Afghan people, still harbors bin Laden and his network of suspected terrorists. By militarizing the Taliban to punish Afghan farmers growing opium poppies -- farmers desperate for a cash crop to feed their families in a country of decimated agricultural infrastructure -- the U.S. government may have indirectly subsidized terrorism. Just one more example of the war on drugs causing more harm than good.

-- Wrye Sententia
Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics
>Davis, Calif.

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